Dealing with the fallout of a breakup is brutal enough. And although talking it out with your friends may be therapeutic in many ways, it can also potentially add salt to the wound. While detailing how the split went down, it might even feel like you’re reliving the heartache. But here’s the thing — it doesn’t have to be so painful. Wondering how to explain your breakup to your friends? According to Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, there is a right way to do it. Because ultimately, your friends can only be there for you if they fully understand what you’re going through.
First of all, before you divulge any details about the breakup, Martinez advises that you gain some clarity. Allow yourself some time to grapple with your emotions. You don’t owe your friends an immediate PSA after you and your SO split, and jumping the gun on communicating your breakup may actually be detrimental.
“If you're not confident the break is the right thing to do or perhaps you're not even sure of its finality, don't share it just yet,” she explains. “Give yourself enough time to sort out how you're feeling about it. If your tone is unsure, you may give off indirect cues that you're looking for guidance on the topic.”
Obviously, your friends may be eager to help you manage your feelings and guide you in the right direction — but remember, they weren’t in your relationship, and they don’t have all the answers.
“Before you know it, all the added opinions and pressure could lead to a decision you wouldn't normally make,” adds Martinez.
“Be prepared that they may want to continue to be involved with them,” says Martinez. “If that's the case, you need to be understanding that your friends also care deeply about this person and it's unfair to ask them to give them up.”
Keep in mind that your friends may need your guidance on how to move forward. You’ll want to consider how you feel about them remaining friends with your ex before you have the talk with them about your breakup.
“Think about how social events can be navigated,” says Martinez. “However, before you communicate any next steps, be clear for yourself on what you'll be able to handle."
While it may be tempting to bash your ex, try to avoid doing so in front of your friends if they’re still close with your ex. Not only might it make them uncomfortable, but your comments may end up being relayed to your ex as well. Of course, if your ex wronged you in some way, you can feel free to honestly share the details of the breakup should you choose to. There’s a difference between simply stating facts and going out of your way to badmouth someone.
Where, when, and how you go about talking to your friends about your breakup is ultimately up to you, and there’s no right or wrong in terms of the conditions for this conversation. However, Martinez says there are certain things you should avoid during this discussion. For one, she advises against oversharing — especially if they’re still in contact with your ex, or are prone to giving unwarranted advice.
“Your friends don't need the intimate details of your relationship in order to understand the breakup,” she explains.
Additionally, Martinez says it’s best not to get your friends involved in the breakup beyond providing an ear to listen. That means you should avoid asking them to contact your ex in order to help facilitate a reconciliation, or dig for information from mutual friends, or play a part in carrying out any kind of revenge plot.
Remember: Your friends’ role in this breakup is simply to be a sounding board, and potentially offer some healing or comforting words. Explaining your breakup to them may not be easy, but letting them in on this emotionally taxing event allows them to be there for you. And don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need from them, whether it’s a little more quality time, some healthy distractions, or advice on how to move on. As long as you focus on the facts of the split and your feelings surrounding it, you can have a productive — perhaps even cathartic — conversation.